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Blogger released on bail

(SEAPA/IFEX) - On 17 July 2007, Malaysian authorities released blogger Nathaniel Tan on police bail after his four-day remand expired.

However, Tan's laptop and desktop computer, which were seized during his 13 July arrest on suspicion of breaching Section 8 of the Official Secrets Act (OSA), have not been returned to him.

Tan's mother, Sukumari Chitty, told local the Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ), a communication rights group, that he was treated well in detention.

SEAPA remains concerned about the reason for Tan's arrest and urges the authorities to disclose the facts of the case against Tan, otherwise his arrest and detention will be seen as "unnecessary and an act of intimidation", as CIJ calls it.

While detained, Tan, who is also a webmaster for an opposition party, was interrogated by the police over a link posted on his blog ( http://jelas.info ) that connects to an anonymous website accusing Deputy Internal Security Minister Johari Baharum of corruption. Johari has been cleared of the allegations. In retaliation, he has ordered the police to trace those who spread "lies" on the Internet about government leaders.

Tan's lawyers are now seeking to revise the four-day remand order as there were procedural irregularities. Tan disclosed after his release that he was not told the reason for his arrest until he was brought to court for remand proceedings on 14 July. His lawyers were not notified of the proceedings and only found out about it by a stroke of luck when a lawyer who was in court for another client recognised Tan.

The Kuala Lumpur High Court has set 13 August to hear the case for the revision.

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